Another New Supermarket for Ashbourne

With a flurry of excitement and an enormous fanfare of publicity, a brand new out of town supermarket opened in Ashbourne last week. Apparently according to all the excitement that was being generated, it was to be just what Ashbourne needed, but it seemed hard to see why, in a small town already served by a Coop, Sainsburys, Waitrose and M&S, and already concerned about the future of small local independent shops.

A New British Supermarket?
A New British Supermarket?

And what is more the antis continued… it wasn’t even British.

Anyway, as with so many contentious planning issues, the big boys seem to prevail to the unashamed delight of the pro-the-german-supermarket-whose-name-begins-with-A brigade, some of whom apparently camped overnight before the store opened in the hopes of winning one of the valuable prizes offered to first comers.

First one friend after another slightly shyly admitted that they had visited the supermarket out of curiosity and found to their possible surprise that maybe it was going to be a good thing after all. Prices were incredibly low…Unfamiliar shelves

So, somewhat late in the day I went yesterday. As you can guess from the pics, it was a perfectly ghastly day, and no marks for also assuming quite rightly, that my resident photographer had declined to accompany me…

And far be it from me to do any supermarket’s publicity for them, but it was an enjoyable, even impressive experience. Spacious car parkFor a start, there’s a spacious car park outside (free of course) and wide aisles inside. Some things were incredibly cheap, a number of brands were familiar but lots were not.

The layout will take some getting used to. Certainly I didn’t needed an Arc Welder, whatever that is, or bargain ladies’ running shoes or men’s lambs wool pullovers for under £20 in amongst the food shelves, but it’s easy enough to just walk past.A choice of wines...

I quickly stocked up four heavy bags worth – 35 items including two bottles of New Zealand wine, some very British beer, 2 packs of ground almonds, caster sugar, flour, butter and a beautiful avocado and masses else and found I had only spent just under £60! The total was £59.22 in fact. I actually wondered if there had been a mistake, but no…

A bargain shopping loaf
A bargain shopping load

How do they do it? Apparently they pay their workers more than any other local supermarket too so they’re not economising there. The check out staff were friendly and pleasant, service was fast and I gathered you are expected to put everything back into your trolley to pack into bags up at a shelf further on, rather as one does in IKEA, instead of holding up the queue as one tries clumsily to pack everything into collapsing carrier bags while still at the till.

I was also amused to see the shop had clearly taken on board the need to prove their Britishness, as you can see from the pic of their cater bag at the top of the post. Union Jacks, St. Andrews flag. There were ‘Produced in Britain’ assurances on practically every packet of unfamiliar makes of food.

Good luck to them I say! If it helps to bring down prices in the other supermarkets, well and good. If it makes it easier for truly poor households to feed their children well, even better.

I shall return, but will certainly not stop using the local independents, who may not always be cheaper but whose quality of food is superb, and whose service so personal and friendly. (And we’ll stick with our weekly Riverford veg box, and milk, and local eggs, all delivered to the door) but I do appreciate that we’re fortunate enough to be – almost – well enough off to do so.

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Marion Fuller-Sessions

Retired and downsized, and sadly now widowed, but keeping in touch with family and friends and friends far and wide via my blog

6 thoughts on “Another New Supermarket for Ashbourne”

  1. I have been an enthusiastic shopper at this type of store for some time. My visits to Buxton and Derby always included visits to this type of store, so when I heard one was to open in Ashbourne I was delighted. I have never had any problems with quality. I have found the service excellent. Checkout procedure disallowing stowing of purchases at the till can be irritating but the benefit shows in the very competitive prices.They used to limit payment to cash or debit card but they now allow payment by credit card. Some of their brands are unfamiliar and the breadth of product range is smaller than the other supermarkets in Ashbourne, so it is not a one stop shop and I will continue to patronise the other supermarkets who will have to sharpen up their act to respond to this new competition.

    1. How interesting, Mike. There have been several responses to my post on Facebook as well, saying much as you do. I am obviously a late convert. Obviously, if you want great choice, or a specific brand, the old-fashioned supermarkets will be the answer, but for value and efficiency – and so far (after one day!) no real problems with quality – there can be no choice… I never dreamt I would be saying that!

      1. Hi Marion, there are two brands which I always buy at this store, Roasted and Ground Ethiopian 100% Arabica coffee which is divine and also Moser Roth chocolate, also divine and both sold at competitive prices. The new store in Ashbourne is a great improvement on those in Buxton and Derby, physically bigger with wider aisles and better car parking. I visited one of these stores recently in Italy where they had an in store bakery – but not in Ashbourne.

        1. Mike, thanks for these tips. Both are on my current shopping list! I have also been told that their champagne and fillet steak is ‘the best’ by someone who should know! I’ll report back…

  2. Interesting times! Our “village”, currently considerably smaller than Ashbourne but expanding at a meteoric rate thanks to large green field building developments, is now in the sights of your newest Ashbourne arrival. Their marketing literature claims that a new supermarket will not impact upon local businesses, but I hear hollow laughter from our two small but effective convenience stores, one of which also sells petrol. The hopeful incomer already has 3 stores within 10 miles, so saturation would seem to be their goal. At the moment I don’t see a justification for another new build, but doubt that local opinion will influence the outcome. I’m not against finding a bargain, but regret the cloning of our towns and villages and the inevitable loss of character and individuality that results.

    1. All very true, Marilyn. How interesting about your even smaller village. I thought Ashbourne was too small for all these additions but mind you, having said that, there are new housing developments going up all over the place here too. The marketing message strikes a false note: if the arrival of a new supermarket won’t impact on existing local businesses presumably serving the same potential customers why are they proposing to come at all? As you say, bargains are very appealing, and people are bound to seek them, as these supermarket companies know full well.

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